Difficulty contacting doctors over the phone in Chorley and South Ribble, survey says

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, chairwoman of the Royal College of GPs
Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, chairwoman of the Royal College of GPs
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Patients in Chorley and South Ribble are finding it increasingly difficult to contact their family doctor over the phone.

The Royal College of GPs says that surgeries’ resources are stretched, but that doctors and their teams are “performing well in incredibly difficult circumstances”.

The survey of 3,157 patients in the Chorley and South Ribble CCG shows that just 68 per cent of people found it easy to get in touch with their GP’s surgery on the phone – slightly less than five years ago, when it was 70 per cent.

But only 51 per cent said that they knew that they could book appointments with their GP online – and just 18 per cent had done so.

The figures – which come from the 2018 GP Patient Survey, conducted between January and March this year – show that in the last three months, 53 per cent of those surveyed had visited their GP practice.

Addressing the national picture, Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, chairwoman of the Royal College of GPs, inset, said: “GPs and our teams are performing well, in the best interests of patients, in incredibly difficult circumstances.

“Our workload has escalated in recent years, both in volume and complexity, but the share of the NHS budget our service receives is less than it was a decade ago, and GP numbers are falling.

“But patients are still waiting too long for a GP appointment, and too many are not getting an appointment when they want one.”

The approval rate for GPs’ surgeries in the Chorley and South Ribble CCG is still broadly positive, with 87 per cent of patients rating their overall experience of their practice as either very good or fairly good – though this has dropped from 86 per cent in 2013.